Teacher, mom, teacher mom. Sometimes I feel like my two jobs are similar to the chicken and the egg. I've been an elementary school teacher for 15 years, and a mom for 5. The older that Lydia gets, the more I realize how being a teacher has given me such clarity as a parent. Trust me, I'm not saying that it's all a walk in the park. But the closer she gets to elementary school, the closer we are to familiar territory. And the best part of that? I know what the expectations are.
Lydia isn't in Kindergarten YET (cue the tears, that will be next year)…..but I want to develop her skills that she'll need in school as much as I can. That includes fine motor skills, spacial sense, and structural knowledge. Does that mean flash cards and text books? OF COURSE NOT, SHE'S FOUR! That means that we introduce new toys and activities constantly to develop her academic skills. Learning through play and exploration is ideal for kids of all ages, including preschoolers.
Looking for a versatile toy? Keva Planks are your best bet. These simple wooden blocks appeal to younger kids who are learning to balance blocks and build towers as well as older kids who can build advance structures and contraptions. My favorite part you can start with smaller set for younger kids or an extensive set for older children. They can be used for open ended play and exploration or you can use the guide books that come with each set for inspiration.
Got a budding artist? Trink a Links Pretty Pets are a great way to practice fine motor skills and even prewriting skills. These adorable mix and match art pieces come with a set to paint each animal portion and then make for tons of fun combinations (who doesn't love inventing their own animals).